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Friendship Advice: Am I Right to Feel Abused and Violated by My Friend?

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Friendship threesomes can often be tricky, especially if an old friend poaches your new one.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I was recently married in May and feel like I've entered the Twilight Zone, and I'm not talking about my marriage...

I had a really great friend named Heather, or so I thought. I had known her for close to two years and she was always fun to be around. I asked her to help me with wedding plans and she was there for me through it all. Then came my bachelorette party. I also invited my husband's good friend's wife, Amanda. I didn't know Amanda very well, but wanted to include her. She almost declined because she didn't know the group of women but came anyway.

Amanda and Heather took to each other very quickly. So quickly that it became the three of us whenever something social was happening. I started to feel like the third wheel.

I wanted to get to know Amanda since our husbands became friends a few years ago but I noticed I was excluded from conversations. At one point, Heather interrupted me and walked off with Amanda while I was speaking. This really hurt my feelings and things started snowballing after that. On our girls' nights out, Amanda and Heather would leave me out of conversations and basically started shunning me. I told my husband and he said to bring it up and work things out, friends should be able to talk to each other. So I did...

Once I told both women I felt excluded, Heather, my original close friend, took it very personally and got uncomfortable. We went out to have a glass of wine and talk it out because I wanted to save our friendship. I thought the talk went fine until I left my cell phone with a dead battery in her car. Heather proceeded to charge it, turn it on, and went through text messages and emails of mine before she told me she had found my lost phone. I learned about what she did through another friend because she told the other mutual friend.

I was very angry to say the least, and called Heather out on her actions. There wasn't anything in my phone about Heather or Amanda, nothing mean or snarky about anyone. Why she did it I don't know. The part that is bothering me now is that since I told Heather I couldn't trust her because of her actions, she and Amanda do everything together now. I am the bad guy.

I know this email is long, but anyone with knowledge of what happened says I've been wronged, and Heather should never have done that to me. I am excluded in everything they do --including times when they are at the local watering hole around the corner from me. I feel like I am in high school all of a sudden.

Am I in the wrong for feeling hurt that they became close so fast and left me in the dust? That, on top of feeling like my privacy was violated.

Signed,

Kimberly

ANSWER

Dear Kimberly,

Anyone in your shoes would feel as hurt and disappointed as you do. Your primary disappointment has to be with your once-close friend Heather, who has delivered a double-whammy. She has been grossly insensitive to your feelings and also has invaded your privacy. I can't think of any justifiable explanation for the cell phone incident. It sounds like she is a snoop who is overly curious about your life.

You did the right thing by talking to Heather and trying to save the friendship. Since the issue you had with her had to do with trust and loyalty, it sounds like the cell phone incident signaled the death knell for the friendship.

I don't think there is any way to repair the damage at this point, especially on your end. You've expressed your disappointment and just need to leave it at that. Since you seem to have friends in common with both women and Amanda is your husband's friend's wife, try to forget this, move on, and refrain from talking about this any further with other friends.

Remain cordial and take the high road, especially in public settings. Some friendships are just not meant to be. You deserve better friends than this.

Hope this helps.

My best,

Irene

Other posts about friend poaching and threesomes on The Friendship Blog:
  • Friend poaching or social networking: What's the difference?
  • Friendship calculus: The problem of three
  • Escaping from a toxic triangle
  • When three's a crowd
  • Friend poaching: It's complicated